Theatre group in struggle to find men for 7 brides

Paul Findlay says the group will be unable to meet its costs without a show
Paul Findlay says the group will be unable to meet its costs without a show
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It has entertained audiences for almost half a century, but the curtain could soon come down on a popular theatre group – for good.

SMYCMS – originally known as the St Michael’s Youth Club Musical Society – has been staging shows every year since 1963.

But just shy of its 50th year, the company is in crisis with too few actors – particularly men – willing to come forward for its latest production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

If the show fails to go ahead, the company will be unable to pay its day-to-day running costs, which include rent of £150 a month for storage space for its wardrobe.

Organisers have given themselves a deadline of Monday to make a decision about the group’s future – and the clock is ticking.

Chairman Paul Findlay, 58, from Morningside, said: “I honestly don’t know what the problem is this year – I just can’t get a response.

“We have a rehearsal opportunity this Monday and if we cannot get more interest by then, I’m afraid that might be it.

“It would be a real shame – especially as we are set to celebrate our 50th anniversary next year.”

SMYCMS began in the hall of St Michael’s Church in Slateford.

Mr Findlay, who is the owner of Fanelli’s Deli in Colinton, said he thought the group had “got it right” choosing Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which is due to be staged in April at the Church Hill Theatre in Morningside.

He added: “We really need about ten or 12 guys and girls to make sure we have the right people to play the brothers and brides.

“There are several amateur theatre companies in Edinburgh putting on musicals and we always want to do one that the public will want to see.

“What we’ve tried to do is put on shows which have not been done before – Red Hot and Cole, the story of Nat King Cole, Hot Mikado and a version of Bugsy Malone with an adult cast.”

But despite the struggle to find a cast, there seems to be no shortage of people who want to come to watch the shows.

Mr Findlay, who joined the group in the 1970s, said: “The performances we put on are popular – lots of people come in to my shop and ask what we are putting on this year.

“We’ve been really successful in years gone by.

“But to put on a show costs between £18,000 and £22,000, and that’s a lot of money when you get no help from anywhere and don’t have any big sponsors to keep you going.

“If we don’t put on a show this year, I won’t be able to pay the ongoing expenses.”

SMYCS hopes to stage its latest production at the Church Hill Theatre from April 17-21.

A pre-audition rehearsal is planned for Monday and the cast will hopefully be chosen on January 15.

To get involved, contact Paul on 0131-441 5844 or e-mail